🚜Mitigating Fibre Outages in South Africa: The Mind-Blowing Innovation of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) using Fibre Optics 🇿🇦

🚜Mitigating Fibre Outages in South Africa: The Mind-Blowing Innovation of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) using Fibre Optics 🇿🇦

Discover how this mind-blowing technology interprets seismic activities, picks up ambient sounds, and tracks nature's whispers. From seismic shifts to cicada swarms, witness DAS redefine security perceptions!


3 min read

The innovation around Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in fibre optics has been brewing, and it's truly exciting to explore its potential.

The technology, pioneered by an innovative startup in Australia, is reshaping the way we perceive use cases for DAS.

In America an aerial fibre optic deployment, equipped with DAS, has proven its diverse capabilities. This innovative DAS system, connected to an interrogator, utilizes lasers to interpret light changes, detecting minute vibrations caused by seismic movements or even sounds, such as passing ambulances. Beyond its original seismic monitoring purpose, DAS has found varied applications.

Roots in seismic monitoring

Scientists exploring earthquake and volcanic activity monitoring were the first ones to harness DAS. However, its remarkable sensitivity, even detecting pedestrian movement above its buried lines leads to mind blowing alternative applications. One such example as an unexpected discovery when researchers, encountered a peculiar phenomenon in the DAS data during the spring of 2021. The data exhibited a peculiar frequency buzzing that didn't align with typical seismic patterns. Suspecting an unusual source, the team speculated it might not be seismic but rather the clamour of Brood X, a massive cicada swarm surfacing after years underground. Seeking confirmation, they collaborated with cicada experts. It’s that sensitive to detect insects.

It nearly the same as surveillance cameras picking up and earth quake and triggering the hadedas:

Commonly, Fiber Network Operators (FNOs) rely on reactionary methods like Optical Time-Domain Reflectometry (OTDR) probes for monitoring. However, DAS applications, facilitated by cutting-edge interrogator hardware, are proactive and game changing.

The ultimate interogator

A Treble, from startup terra15 acting as an interrogator, holds the incredible capability of capturing high-fidelity audio data every 4 meters along a fibre spanning up to 40km. This advancement allows for unprecedented levels of precision and real-time monitoring.

One of its remarkable advantages lies in proactive interference mitigation, especially against third-party intervention. The technology swiftly identifies and pinpoints potential fibre, conduit or pipeline damage, alerting operators long before a breach occurs. A case in point would be a fibre destroying backhoe starting up to kill the Internet for an outage affecting millions of people.

Diverse use cases

Terra15 boasts seismic research departments in leading universities globally as their customers, indicating the technology's credibility and its significant applications which could also potentially include telecommunications. From utilities like Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, Gautrain Management Agency, and water pipelines such as those in City of Cape Town to unconventional uses in crime prevention. DAS can be deployed in the grounds but aerial deployments can detect diverse disturbances with greater fidelity, including alarms, gunshots, and even insect activity as the researchers in America discovered.


The DAS innovation transcends traditional network security paradigms, promising a seismic shift towards proactive, robust, and multifaceted threat detection and mitigation across various sectors.

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the groundbreaking implications of technology in safeguarding critical infrastructure and fostering smarter security measures which would be a game changer for such operators such as Dark Fibre Africa, Openserve, or MetroFibre Networx.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. Contact Fusion